Bodden Town Primary School students celebrated a heritage day on Friday by participating in several demonstrations, traditional foods and arts and crafts.
Students and teachers dressed up in traditional clothing. Many wore plaid dresses, thatch hats and wompers, and ate local foods, such as Cayman-style beef, corn bread, cassava cakes, peppermint candies, fish and fritters.
School principal June Elliott said the heritage day was both fun and educational. She joined the activities by helping to fry fritters.
“Isn’t it exciting?” she said, “It’s part of the curriculum at the school and what better way to experience it than just hearing and reading about it.”
Students from non-Cayman backgrounds at the school got to learn about the local culture, while local students got to learn a bit more about their own heritage, the principal said.
In the near future, the school has plans to put on culture days from other counties, Ms. Elliott added.
Beth Jackson, a Year 6 student, said she enjoyed the heritage day and learned a lot about Cayman culture.
“We learned how the older folks did things. Making coconut candies is my favorite,” she said.
Students were able to witness local crafts being made, and were taught about the elements that go into crafting, such as the types of materials used, and tools needed for making thatch rope and baskets.
Storyteller Twyla Vargas showed off dolls she had made from local material, students twisted rope with Donna Bryan, an instructor at Cayman Traditional Art, and Rose Myles showed them the art of peppermint making. Students also participated in dancing on the traditional maypole and fashion show.
In the school yard, Captain Kem Jackson of the Cayman Islands Catboat Club shared Cayman’s catboat history.
Kids were told that catboats were crafted from the curved branches of Cayman’s pop-nut, fiddlewood or mahogany trees and that the boats played a major role in nearly every facet of life in the Cayman Islands, serving as the islands’ taxis, pickup trucks, buses, and of course, fishing boats, from the early 1900s through to the 1950s.
Heritage arts is taught at the government schools by Cayman Traditional Arts, which is funded by the ministries of tourism, education and culture.
“Overall it was an exciting and enjoyable day for everyone,” said teacher Kendriah Whyte.